Just when John Galliano thought it was safe to go back in the (fashion) water, rather get out from drowning under water, comes The Galliano Conundrum - Part Deux. The Galliano Conundrum started that fateful day two years ago when John was drowning his sorrows in a pub in Le Marais when his barrage of hateful anti-Semitic comments came spewing out of his mouth like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Galliano looking and sounding like a tragic mess was caught on camera saying shit like "I Love Hitler," a seminal moment that changed his life on a dime, like a crippling car accident.
The world was not about to let John Galliano off the hook. He was shunned by his peers and immediately terminated from Christian Dior, which is understandable, because you don't bite the hand that feeds you. My immediate reaction was horror and disdain for his contemptible comments but when I learned that he was under the influence of Ambien, alcohol and stupidity, my opinion shifted. I wrote a piece for The Huffington Post about forgiveness and as a child of Holocaust survivors, I understood that John's addictions were stronger than his drug induced stupor. John probably would not have remembered his mumblings of a madman had it not been caught on tape.
Cut to two years later, post rehab, when Oscar de la Renta made a grand gesture to invite the master craftsman work alongside the master for his Fall '13 collection to be shown at New York Fashion Week. It seemed as though the tide had turned for John Galliano. Smartly, John stayed out of the limelight during that time except when the New York Post vindictively posted a picture of John wearing an outfit that the Post deemed as a swipe against Jews because he resembled an Orthodox Jew, which was not even the case. Excuse me, but a black Fedora and a black overcoat does not necessarily a Yid make. Like the New York Post knows the difference between fashion and a faux pas? Don't get me started. Outside of that one negative PR snafu, Galliano's turn in New York was heralded as a success and it seemed that all may have been forgiven. Not forgotten surely, but forgiven.
Then Parsons School of Design announced that John Galliano was going to teach a master class called "Show Me Emotion." The vague title should have been a dead giveaway that what Parsons wanted to do was mix the art of raw artistic emotion with a dishy opportunity for John to speak about his indiscretion, like some kind of academia version of a Barbara Walters special... tears and all. That was until the outrage from students A.K.A. funders reacted like they had just been slapped in the face. The Dean sent out a letter notifying the student body and the public that they cancelled the mater class saying, "We expected to invite students, faculty and staff to ask Mr. Galliano how his trajectory as a designer was changed by his offensive remarks and to learn from that example." The vague name of the class coupled with the vague syllabus for the class was what lead to the demise of the Galliano workshop and now what's next for John?
Today we had a lively panel discussion on HuffPo Live with a great panel of guests featuring fashion editors, stylists, bloggers and educators. Both sides of the aisle were represented in this important conversation and my take away was "Time may heal all wounds, but it might not do shinola for John Galliano's career."
Is this a case of political correctness or is John Galliano still too hot a property to handle? There really is no right answer because it is such an emotional issue. But shame on John Galliano's PR machine to not use the perfect timing after his Oscar de la Renta stint to slip in a couple of apologetic moments through the appropriate media outlets to clear more of the air that lingers around him like the smell of day old fish. What will it take to let John Galliano finally move on so he can resurrect his career? The world needs to learn from his brilliance and not stay focused on his foibles.